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With the hiring of Joe Maddon by the Los Angeles Angels, Major League Baseball’s managerial hiring season has begun. Teams ranging from nearly playoff bound to looking to rebuild are in the market for a new coach and a new start.
For some it will make or break their franchise in the short term while for others they look to set themselves up for the long term.
The right manager can turn a bottom feeder team into a perennial contender. However the wrong manager can do the inverse and set their team back a couple of years. So whose right for the job and whose going where?
Philadelphia Phillies: Joe Girardi
Girardi has emerged as a favorite to land the Philadelphia’s vacant manager spot according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Usually when a team gives a second interview, that’s a sign that they’re interested and that one more meeting could be all it takes to convince them.
Girardi lead the 2009 New York Yankees to their 27th World Series Championship with a team that outspent everybody for players like pitchers A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia. Given that Philadelphia spent a lot last offseason to land outfielder Bryce Harper alone, this could be a perfect match.
Chicago Cubs: David Ross
Former catchers always seem to make interesting choices for managers. Their view behind the plate allows them to conduct where the fielders should play, as well as what pitchers should do to have a productive inning. That’s exactly what David Ross would bring.
Replacing Maddon will be one of the hardest tasks for Chicago. After spending the last few years in their front office, as well as playing with the team, Ross presents an interesting selection.
As a rookie manager, he already has the respect of the locker room, giving him a slight advantage. Of all the potential rookie managers, he seems like the one with the best chance to lead a team to the World Series if Chicago brings him in.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jeff Banister
Bannister lead the Texas Rangers to back to back American League West titles in 2015 and 2016, as well as an AL Manager of the Year award. After he was fired in 2018, Banister was a special assistant to baseball operations for Pittsburgh. His road may lead to wearing the black and yellow in dugout.
Having spent a majority of his career in Pittsburgh’s system including as a manager in their minor league system from 1994-1998, as well as their minor and major league coordinator until 2010, he’s stayed with the team. He was initially up for the managers job that year but lost out to Clint Hurdle, the guy who was just fired.
Bannister also served as the bench coach under Hurdle until 2014 when he was hired by Texas. He may finally get his chance.
San Diego Padres: Jayce Tingler
The race for San Diego’s vacant managerial position is seemingly down to two names: former Texas manager Ron Washington and Texas’ Major League Player Development Field Coordinator Jayce Tingler. While Washington seems like the better choice considering he lead Texas to two World Series appearances, his age (67) is what may hurt him.
Tingler also holds the advantage of being a minor league manager in the past. Given that San Diego is rebuilding and has a lot of minor league prospects on their roster, he’d be perfect for the job.
San Francisco Giants: Joe Espada
Following the success of the 2018 Boston Red Sox, lead by manager Alex Cora, teams started lining up for the guy who replaced him as the Houston Astros’ bench coach, Espada. So far in various interviews, teams have seem impressed with him.
Bruce Bochy’s retirement and the inevitable departure of pitcher Madison Bumgarner will mark a new era in San Francisco. With new eras, you need a face to represent it. It may take some time for them to get back into playoff contender shape but Espada may be the man for job.
Kansas City Royals: Mike Matheny
One of the strangest firings in the last few years was St. Louis firing Mike Matheny. He lead St. Louis to a 591-474 record from 2012-2018. In that time he made the playoffs four times, including three straight a National League Central titles. So after his dismissal, why hasn’t he gotten a job?
Well this may be his best shot. Since Kansas City won the World Series in 2015, they’ve never finished above .500. With a healthy mix of veterans and young talent, they could compete, they just need the right manager for the job.
New York Mets: Eduardo Perez
New York will miss out on Girardi because Philadelphia’s too tempting. They’ll miss out on former Texas, New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showhalter because allegedly he likes to have control of the roster and it seems general manager Brodie Van Wagenen isn’t ready to relinquish any of that power yet. Those two are the only veteran managers that should interest New York.
So why Pérez? Having worked at ESPN as well being a former player, he’ll be able to have a good balance of traditional ability versus analytics.. He was a hitting coach with the Miami Marlins in 2011 before holding a bench coach 2014 with the Houston Astros.
Pérez may be a rookie manager but he’ll have the most to offer New York, especially with how close they came to making the playoffs.